Sing it with a bit of a country twinge … “I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God. I’ve been washed by the fountain and cleansed by His blood. Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod. I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God.” Can I get an “Amen!” out of the fat guy in the back pew?
What is your family like? I have an awesome family. We Linscott’s are passionate. We get passionately angry and passionately joyful. Ride with us and you are on a roller coaster. We laugh so hard we cry. I love my family.
But I understand that not everyone loves their family. Some families are filled with dysfunction and fights. Some people can go months and years without seeing their family members and they dread the time they have to spend together. That stinks.
Every family has its oddities. We have ours. My mom’s family talks a lot about physical burdens and aches and pains. They think nothing of greeting me with a, “Wow, what happened to you? You’ve gained too much weight. That’s not healthy!” I laugh about it because I know it’s coming and I know they all love me and each other deeply.
My dad’s family is loud and happy bunch. They partied hard and now they are showing the wear and tear. Still, they will shrug off whatever frailty they are dealing with and say, “Hey, what are ya gonna do?” followed by a sincere laugh.
But this “family of God” stuff? What is that? It’s a mystical mix. There’s the elderly woman with the coffee breath and the lipstick that wandered near her lips. There’s the guy who greets me at the door after every message and scolds me or tells me what I missed. There’s the woman with the obnoxiously loud laugh. You can hear her coming. There’s the hugger, the campaigner, and the spiritual guy who wants to put his hand on my head and pray for me. I don’t know him all that well but I let him pray and I smile.
The weird thing is, I love this family I’m in. It is so diverse and different. From the alcoholic to the woman who has a high-powered job, from the teacher to the cop, from the Navy guy to the old veteran, it is a strange and wonderful mix.
It makes me sad to realize that many in America have missed the family aspect of being part of the church. Instead, Americans see the church as just another provider of services. We pull up and head in to look at a menu. This pastor preaches too long but the guy over there doesn’t preach long enough. This music team is good but that one does nothing for me. I like this style. I hate that style.
We’ve got a lot of choices. If this church isn’t doing it for you, head out and try another one. Keep shopping until you find one. Then, when something changes there, start shopping again.
What if we did that with our families? I know that some people do, but what if that was the norm? I can’t picture myself walking out on my family because I don’t enjoy everything that they enjoy. It’s my family. My connection goes deeper than the superficial stuff.
I wonder how my life would be different if I lived in a small village in Romania where there was one church. Would I go and connect with those people or would I isolate? If I isolate I miss the shared experiences and faith building aspects of community. I want to hope I would go and be a part of a body of believers even if their piano was out of tune or they took communion from paper cups or had a weak vocalist leading singing.
Unfortunately I think we Americans are much too flighty when it comes to putting down routes. We are too quick to walk away.